Complaining about a work injury is every employee’s right. This right is protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The act protects those who report a work accident in North Carolina and the rest of the country. Unfortunately, some companies still punish employees for bringing attention to injuries they suffer at work.
Just recently, the U.S Department of Labor sued the Ohio Bell Telephone Co. for disciplining more than a dozen workers who reported workplace accidents. The suit cited various instances where workers were suspended for violating what the company called its ergonomic policy. Employees were suspended for up to three days and received disciplinary warnings when injuries were reported.
If you suffer workplace injuries you should notify your employer at once. Your employer may refer you to a designated hospital . In any event, your medical expenses should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. You may also be entitled to workers’ compensation for lost wages or any disability that results from the injury.
An official from the Department of Labor emphasized the illegality of the company’s actions. He further stated that discouraging a worker from reporting a work injury only increased the likelihood of more workplace accidents in the future. The official said his department would work to put an end to reprisals against those who speak up.
Employers should take their responsibility for preventing work accidents seriously. Trying to cover up dangers in the workplace is very callous. You might need to reach out to a workplace accidents lawyer if you are victimized for exposing dangers in your workplace.
Source: Business Insurance, “Ohio Bell sued for disciplining workers who reported injuries,” Judy Greenwald, Feb. 11, 2014